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24.07.2019 Europe

Redistribution Of Rescued Sea Migrants Agreed By 14 EU Countries

Safe at last, a rescued immigrant praises God
JUL 24, 2019 EUROPE
Safe at last, a rescued immigrant praises God

Fourteen states of the European Union have agreed on a new mechanism for the redistribution of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. This was announced on Monday by French President Emmanuel Macron, after a closed meeting of the EU Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs in Paris.

France and Germany came up with an initiative which details are unknown. However, the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had previously expressed a slightly less optimistic view, according to DPA. He stated that although the negotiations had progressed significantly, a definitive agreement had not yet been reached.

"The conclusion of today's meeting is that, in principle, 14 member states at this stage agreed to the Franco-German document," Macron told reporters. Eight of these countries expressed active approval, in addition to Germany and France, Portugal, Luxembourg, Finland, Lithuania, Croatia, and Ireland.

The planned mechanism should, according to the source of the AFP, allow the redistribution of migrants among the European Union countries as soon as possible in exchange for Italy and Malta to open their ports to refugees. Ministers discussed this procedure in Helsinki last week and are scheduled to have further talks in Malta in September.

"Our goal is to reach agreement in September in Malta between 12 and 15 countries on how to ensure greater efficiency and humanity towards migrants rescued in the Mediterranean," said AFP, a source close to negotiations.

France believes that countries from the coalition of volunteers will soon finally agree on a so-called solidarity mechanism, which would end disputes over the redistribution of migrants rescued at sea and prevent intensive negotiations on which country will accept them.

"The haggling of rescue operations in the Mediterranean must finally, be over," said Maas on Monday.

The immigration crisis in the Mediterranean was severe to the extent that the Italian government, experiencing the busiest migration closed its ports to migrants. The tension prevented the Italian prime minister, Matteo Salvin, to attend the meeting, however, a delegation from Italy was present.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2,500 migrants arrived from Libya over the sea this year, 1150 in Malta and at least 343 people died trying to cross the sea.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium., Author column: JoelSavage

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